To the Rev. Joseph Spence
third hands, I assure you in my own proper person that I shall have great pleasure, on our meeting in England, to renew an acquaintance that I began with so much pleasure in Italy'. I will not reckon you among my modern friends, but in the first article of virtu: you have given me so many new lights into a science that I love so much, that I shall always be proud to own you as my master in the antique, and will never let anything break in upon my reverence for you, but a warmth and freedom that will flow from my friendship, and which will not be contained within the circle of a severe awe.
As I shall always be attentive to give you any satisfaction that lies in my power, I take the first opportunity of sending you two little poems, both by a hand that I know you esteem the most: if you have not seen them, you will thank me for lines of Mr. Pope: if you have, why I did not know it2.
I don't know whether Lord Lincoln has received any orders to return home: I had a letter from one of my brothers last post to tell me from Sir Kobert that he would have me leave Italy as soon as possible, lest I should be
LETTER 38.—1 This acquaintance proved of infinite service to Walpole, shortly after the date of this letter, when he was laid up with a quinsy at Reggio. Spence thus describes the circumstance :—' About three or four in the morning, I was surprised with a message, saying, that Mr. Walpole was very much worse, and desired to see me : I went, and found him scarce able to speak. I soon learned from his servants that he had been all the while without a physician, and had doctored himself; so I immediately sent for the best aid the place would afford, and dispatched a messenger to the minister at Florence, desiring him to send my friend Dr. Cocchi. In about twenty-four hours I had the
satisfaction to find Mr. Walpole better: we left him in a fair way of recovery, and we hope to see him next week at Venice. I had obtained leave of Lord Lincoln to stay behind some days if he had been worse. You see what luck one has sometimes in going out of one's way. If Lord Lincoln had not wandered to Eeggio, Mr. Walpole (who is one of the best natured» and most sensible young gentlemen England affords) would have, in all probability, fallen a sacrifice to his disorder.' Wright.
2 ' These were Pope's Verses on his Grotto, and Epitaph on himself.' (Singer's note in Spence's Anecdotes, p. 406).